Many companies have these problems, and they all damage the ability to grow.
- Weak internal communication
- Inability to react quickly to opportunities (or threats)
- A preference for over-analyzing problems instead of making decisions
- A tendency to view business challenges as functional problems
- Functional close-mindedness
The usual approach to solve these problems is to focus on symptoms, and either cover them up, or develop bureaucratic solutions that add complexity and further reduce speed.
For example, one company, concerned about interaction and communication between groups, set up a process where functional leaders were required to document specific plans to improve communication with other groups. The result was a proliferation of meetings and needless reports resulting in even worse communication. When complaints about communications continued, senior leaders were perplexed because they had already “fixed the problem.”
Solving these problems requires an approach that goes beyond the symptoms to address root causes. In every case, the solution must be focused on the whole organization, not a piecemeal, functional approach. Furthermore, a bureaucratic and functional mindset nearly always leads to more problems, not solutions.